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Why is Gibbs leaving NCIS? Mark Harmon announces exit | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) has been at the centre of the drama on NCIS for almost two decades and he was one of the last original characters still featuring on the show. It was heavily speculated ahead of season 19’s release the actor who plays him was going to be stepping down from the role, or at least appearing less frequently. In Monday night’s episode and after a showdown with his adversary Paul Lemere (Jason Wiles), his journey came to an end. Here is everything you need to know about why the character will be stepping down as a series regular on the CBS drama.

Why is Gibbs leaving NCIS?

Although it seems Gibbs has left the show for good, it has been confirmed the character has not left the world of NCIS forever.

It is likely Harmon will return in a guest capacity in future seasons of the programme as he remains fundamental to the show’s success.

Showrunner, Steve Binder explained this in a statement, stating: “As an executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show.

“Our north star has always been staying true to our characters, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go.

“So regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years…never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out.”

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The beloved character might not be completely out of the picture but Harmon will be taking a prolonged break from the show as Gibbs said goodbye to the team at the end of Monday’s episode.

There has been no official statement released by the actor regarding his character’s future but CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl reiterated the fact this might not be the last viewers will see of him.

Kahl explained: “Mark’s always been part of the show, Mark’s always going to be part of the show.

“In terms of his on-air appearances, we’re just going to have to see how it plays out going forward,” she added.

Making a home for himself in Alaska, Gibbs began his farewells to his colleagues as he headed towards retirement from the NCIS team.

None was more heartbreaking than him saying goodbye to colleague and longtime friend, Tim McGee (Sean Murray), as the pair went fly fishing.

After telling his colleague to focus on progression and to take every opportunity when he could, Gibbs thanked McGee for his companionship.

He said: “I could not have hoped for anyone better to watch my back for the past 18 years than you,” before hugging the young officer.

Gibbs’ final scene saw him throwing a fishing line into the water as he stood on his own.

Who will replace Gibbs on NCIS?

Having led the team from the beginning of season 19, it seemed Agent Parker is going to be taking over the reins from Gibbs.

However, when the series regular was cast, it was announced he would never be a replacement for Harmon and he would simply help the team with their investigation.

Therefore, there has been no confirmation on whether Gibbs is ever going to be replaced by a new or current cast member.

Following Gibbs’ speech to McGee, it seems he could be the most likely contender to usher the team into a new era.

NCIS season 19 continues Mondays on CBS in the USA. A UK release date is yet to be confirmed.

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